The past week has been busy for us. In general (see folkfest blogs) and to do with trip organization. Most of our India/Bhutan trip is constrained by transportation. Therefore our itinerary is pretty well set and we cannot float too much . We have to catch this or that plane or be at this or that designated spot at this or that designated time. So, I have started to research accommodation and the possibilities available.
Since we are constrained, we think that we can book places in advance. This will take some of the adventure out of the equation, but at the same time it will reduce some of the stress. Looking for a place to stay as we arrive at a destination is always a good way to take in the lie of the land, but it does take time from some pointed touring and the stopping at place after place trying to make an instant decision, ‘Is this place the one?’, can be quite a stressful exercise.
I think we have decided to start picking a place to stay in the towns we know we will be in for fixed date. Our Kolkata stay is hard ended by airplane flights. We are to leave Bhutan by Oct. 16 and we have plane tickets to the Port Blair on the morning of the 20th. My research has dug up 10 or so places that we have emailed with our first round of questions. There is a wide range of accommodation types from Budget hotels in the centre of Kolkata to boutique hotels further out in the suburbs.
We got back answers to most of the emails and will have to analyze them over the next couple of days. Hotels are quite cheap in India, except of course the luxury hotels that are basically there for the more gentile crowd. Those particular hotels are as expensive as they are anywhere in the world. As you have probably gathered we do not stay in ‘luxury accommodation’, but with the rates the Indian hotels charge we should be able to stay in places a cut above our standards and not affect our budget.
Most of the places we have located in Kolkata are standard hotels rooms. Done up like any hotel in the western world. Nice for the familiarity factor but not so good if one that wants to be part of somewhere other than home.
When we were in Beijing we discovered this great little place, The Double Happiness. It was a small hotel in a more or less residential district that was built to resemble a traditional hutong and furnished with Chinese antiques. It was one of the best places we stayed.
There is a hotel similar to The Double Happiness in Kolkata, the Bodhi Tree. We have included this establishment on our email list and hope that our investigations are favorable.
We have also emailed the hotels with possibilities in Darjeeling and Kalimpong. We have not begun our investigations into places on Havelock Island because we do have some flex time when we arrive in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands. We have the possibility of taking a bus ride up island from Port Blair to Mayabunder and doing a little exploring before catching a ferry to Havelock and loaf for the duration of out trip. I think we are leaning on getting to Havelock as soon as we can so this may result in us booking there soon as well.
Next step; determine which accommodation offers us what we want and negotiate the terms.